The start of a new year brings optimism and a renewed sense of purpose. You want to put away all of the bad stuff of the previous year and replace it with the good habits that will bring needed change. There may be a list in your mind or on paper of all you want to accomplish. It can be easy to treat our faith the same way. You want to do good works for the Lord, and there is nothing wrong with that as long as you do it through faith.
“This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?”
The Heavy Law
Galatia was an area in what we would know as central Turkey today. Several churches were started by Paul and Barnabas that saw both great fruit and brutal persecution. The most difficult challenge wasn’t from the persecution but the infiltration of Judaizers into the church. These men brought heavy requirements like circumcision and following the law. The new converts were starting to abandon Paul’s teaching of being saved by grace and replacing it with works. Paul counters that by asking them if they received the Spirit by anything they have done or faith.
A doctrine of works makes people more comfortable in their faith because it gives them a list to accomplish. Grace means that we have to acknowledge that we are sinners and receive the gift for free. When you are saved, you are filled with the Holy Spirit. It comes by faith in Jesus Christ, and He empowers you to live a godly life. You can’t earn or manufacture this.
Do It Through Faith
The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. He is fully God and was given to us to guide us while here on earth. The Spirit makes our gifts evident and brings about fruit like love and patience in our life. He is someone you lean on for understanding and respond when He convicts you of sin. All of this comes about by your faith, nothing else. Don’t try to make things happen. Instead, pray and seek His will.